Dannemann: Third game drawn in 23

9/28/2004 – Game three of the classical chess world championship in Brissago ended in a draw. A novelty by Vladimir Kramnik with black on move 17 had challenger Peter Leko stumped. After a 40-minute thought the game continued with a flurry of exchanges and an inevitable draw. Here's updated report with video and analysis.

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Third game drawn in 23 moves

The third game of the Dannemann World Chess Championship ended in a disappointing draw after 23 moves. Playing the black side of a Petroff, Kramnik produced a novelty with 17...Qc2. Peter Leko sank into a 40-minute think, without being able to find anything for White. The two traded pieces and the game was drawn.

Leko,P (2741) - Kramnik,V (2770) [C42]
WCh Brissago SUI (3), 28.09.2004

C42: Petroff Defence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Again the Petroff Defense as in game one. Will Kramnik risk it again in game five? There's an old saying about not playing the same defense three times in a row. 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 The dynamic modern line as opposed to the old main line 5.Qe2, which is much more drawish. Mostly thanks to Russian-German GM Artur Jussupow (a commentator at the match, conveniently enough) the world needed a way to get better winning chances against the Petroff. Now there are main lines with piece sacrifices! 5...d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Undermining the knight's outpost.

8...Nb4 9.Be2 If you want to attack you have to keep pieces on the board. This retreat gives Black a tempo, but White doesn't want to give up a bishop for a knight so early. 9...0-0 10.Nc3 Bf5 Black also follows a plan of rapid development.

11.a3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Exchanging gives White a pair of dangerously mobile pawns in the center. His pawn structure is less intact than Black's, and so more vulnerable in several ways. That's more in the long run, however, and the mobile pawns can cause trouble if they get moving.

12...Nc6 13.Re1 This sharp move gave new life to this variation and it has been quite popular in the past few years. Kasparov used it against Adams in Linares a few years ago and that game can be considered a model. White has two mobile pawns and he must play aggressively. To generalize, Leko likes to play for small advantages, so this line may not suit him that well. [13.cxd5 Qxd5 14.c4 (14.Bf4 Na5 15.Bxc7 Rac8 16.Bxa5 Qxa5 17.c4) 14...Qe4 15.Be3]

13...Re8 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.c4 In game one Leko played 16.h3. [16.h3 Be4 17.Be3 Na5 18.c4 Nxc4 19.Bxc4 Qxc4 20.Nd2 Qd5 21.Nxe4 Qxe4 22.Bg5 Qxe1+ 23.Qxe1 Bxg5 0-1 Leko,P-Kramnik,V/Brissago SUI 2004 (65)] 16...Qe4 17.Be3 Qc2 (diagram)

New on the board, but not in our hearts. Back when Garry Kasparov was preparing for Vladimir Kramnik for the London 2000 world championship match, this move was under consideration even before the now-popular 17...Bf6. After all, Kramnik is known for his misogyny, always wanting the queens off the board!

If the move itself wasn't a big surprise, Leko's long think was. Soon he was again an hour behind on the clock, just like game one. It's a very bad sign for his preparation. Not to have looked at this natural move can be considered a blunder. (See the replay page for the many top-level games with 17...Bf6.)

18.d5 Na5 19.Nd4 [19.Bxa7? b6-/+] 19...Qxd1 20.Rexd1 Bd7 White has space and central control, Black has good squares like c5 and f6 for his pieces, exploiting the weak squares created by the advanced pawns. Unless White can make something of his initiative, those pawn weaknesses could be a serious problem. Frustrated, Leko embarks on a piece-trading sequence and a short draw.

21.Bd2 Bf6 22.Bxa5 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 Rxe2 1/2-1/2 (diagram) If this isn't a totally dead draw, it's a draw on life support. Neither side has weaknesses the other side can effectively attack. Kramnik leads the match 2-1 and will have White on Thursday. – Mig Greengard, ChessNinja.com

Picture gallery


It is so beautiful, what can we do: a view of the city of Ascona, where the players reside


The residents of Lago Maggiore getting their dues


Quaint and narrow: the streets of Ascona


Metallic and hard: a damsel in the park


Introducing game three: match director Joel Lautier of the (see sign bottom left)


It's 15:00h and Peter Leko has not yet arrived. Arbiter Filipowicz starts the clock for White


Waiting for his opponent: classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik


Peter arrives a couple of minutes later, the game can begin


First we must meticulously fill out the scoresheet


The work of one of the world's neatest Grandmasters


And the game is under way

Contacts and further information

Rolf Behovits
Press Officer World Chess Championship
CENTRO DANNEMANN
Via Ruggero Leoncavallo
CH-6614 Brissago
rbehovits@chessgate.de

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